TRACK: ‘Blankets’ – Run Dorothy

The first few chords of Run Dorothy’s ‘Blankets’ are unnervingly familiar – the chill-inducing syncopated heart flutter that you feel when you realize you are bound to math rock territory and find recluse within those short, golden minutes of unsullied sonic bliss. Coupled with the low temperature, this track came right in the smack of need and want of warmth. Dee Cruz’s vocals blend fluidly to each riff, punctuated with a chord that can only be likened to a weary gasp – wait for the switch at the 1:05 mark. It’s not always that we get to hear lyrics sung with complex guitar work that borders into a genre we’re used to being wordless, but this is precisely why Run Dorothy is a stimulating breath of fresh air, a welcomed derivation.

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VIDEO: ‘Solipsism Variations’ – Nights of Rizal

The marriage between Sylvia Plath’s hauntingly vivid poetry and Night of Rizal’s enigmatic – even frenetic at most times – mold of sound might sound like a rather perplexing union at first, but it’s not the most interesting part. Rather, the exploration of Plath’s “Soliloquy of a Solipsist,” a poem that plumbs the depths of one’s consciousness and control (or lack thereof) of life, through visual interpretation and rhythm. Jethro Ramon’s silent film, Solipsism Variations, played with shadows and silhouettes; paced with Night of Rizal’s pulsating beats and melodic synthwork which ebbed and flowed gracefully towards the end. As far as film scoring goes, Nights of Rizal echoed the voice of Solipsism Variations without overstretching or underplaying the film’s story and idea.

Image source: Amplify.ph

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Word Dump

I originally posted this on Wednesday, November 19, on my way home from work.

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It’s not in my nature to dump my feelings –however silly, mundane, or cosmically altering they are – to other people. And by people, I mean family and friends, let alone casual acquaintances or complete strangers. The personal matters I choose to share with another being took me a great deal of mental preparation to even consider divulging, and there’s still much that I choose to keep to myself. It has nothing to do with trust issues. If Freud was to be believed, my mother has sufficed in her natural, expected role and I was fully satiated as an infant (and lookie here, I’m fucking using psychoanalytical, Freudian logic) and I have no problems with trusting people. Like, say, people who say “I love you,” but they left out the part about loving you when it is only convenient. Something like that.

But, not to divert from what I really wanted to say, I seldom talk to people about me. Believe me when I say that I draw from a deep well of what fortitude I have in me to pull someone to a corner and ask, “Hey, I have this thing. Can I talk to you?” or randomly type up a “Hoy, kumusta?” (or a bolder, “May kwento ako sa’yo.”) on Facebook message at 2 in the morning. I always have this perception that people will engage me in a conversation and then at the middle, will lose interest, and carry on with what they’re doing before I interrupted them. So either I sleep it off, eat my feelings, or cry them out. At best, I’ll write about whatever’s bothering me and maybe even post about it on my little blog. World’s too busy to care about you, miss.

Maybe this is why I write. Mostly because I’m painfully awkward, despite of the social triumphs I seemed to achieve (i.e. Talking to new people without getting crazy looks), I appear snobbish (which I don’t understand because even though I’m pretty much a person who laughs a lot, doesn’t mean I do it all the time, even without reason aka lunatic in a literal sense), and if I’m being completely honest, I get tired of being rejected, which I associate with any of my romantic endeavors and I’m not even trying to appear haplessly hopeless. It’s just the truth.

Today, I learned some of my friends will lose their jobs. It’s not as much as, “Am I gonna lose mine, too?” because God knows as far as finances go, I don’t need a six-figure amount to keep myself alive, but, because time and again, I feel like it’s equivalent to maddening goodbyes that I loathe so much. I like these people but because life happens, it screws with you. I have a good friend whom I’ve shared my petty stories about my crushes, and now she’s leaving. I can’t remember the last time I felt genuinely upset because I’ve been enjoying these little, childish things only to end up getting snatched, completely blindsided.

I wanted to talk to this boy, too, simply because I like talking to him. But of course, I wouldn’t because does he want to talk to me, too?

So I’ll just listen to music, wishing I can talk to it, too.

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TRACK: ‘Syllable’ – Birdforms

Nick Lazaro’s known for his frenetic music blueprint that defines his unique style – whether it’s his work with Twin Lobsters, Moonwlk, or even sessioning for BP Valenzuela’s live sets these days. His frenzied synthwork and over-the-top energy is completely hard to miss: inescapable, infectiously buoyant. However, there’s an interesting tweak (not really a notable change) in what one would usually anticipate in a song with his name on it. Together with drummer-electronic musician Pat Sarabia (Peryodiko, Wilderness, Plant a Tree) and visual artist-musician Kara Chung, this trio formed a new electronic project called Birdforms. Judging from their first release, ‘Syllable,’ here’s a sound that’s much controlled, a gentle restraint that explores not only the bounds and dimensions of the three’s musicianship, but also their skills as producers. Perhaps the strongest point of ‘Syllable’ is that it sounded light but not lazy. In fact, its lightness does not dwindle as the track progresses, but moreover, heightened by subtle accents such as the keyboards and bass. More importantly, it does not lose its character – the thing we’ll recognize instantly from these three. It’s faint, but it’s definitely there.

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RAVE: ‘Still Not Falling’ – Shy Girls

I think I was browsing through the Palo Alto soundtrack when I stumbled upon an article mentioning ‘Shy Girls’ in passing, recommending it to fans of one of my favorite feel-good synth acts, Great Good Fine Ok. So I checked this mundanely named band and I’ve been listening to them since. So far, they have a six-track EP out, Timeshare, released via Hit City U.S.A. I was initially drawn to their track called ‘Under Attack,’ but when I heard this, I could feel my eyes getting glassy. Truth to be told, it reminded me a bit of Spandau Ballet’s ‘True’ (a.k.a my all-time favorite old song), especially at the 1:12 mark. I’m ~dying~

Buy their EP, Timeshare, on iTunes

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TRACK: ‘Under Blankets’ – CRWN

CRWN’s repertoire has been consistently impressive when it comes to delivering textured R&B tracks, and his latest, a collaboration with Sinyma’s Jessica Connelly, is just as remarkably tasteful as his previous works. This time, however, there is a combination of his usual elegant spunk (if there’s such a thing) that spindles well with Connelly’s lush vocals, resulting into an unabashed ready-made track for a kind of night Marvin Gaye or Bobby Womack would sing about. It would also not hurt to listen to his previous release, ‘Without’ – just to culminate things smoothly. Then pop ‘Under Blankets’ with a bottle of champagne and let the rest of the night unfold.

Also, here’s ‘Without.’

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Cloudy With A Chance Of Feelings

phonto

So I woke up around noon today since it’s a) Saturday and more importantly, b) it’s COLD. Christmas season is indeed here and I know it so because I’m lathering myself with moisturizing lotion several times a day when normally, I forget to even apply it once a day. Also, I was wearing a bulky sweater last night at SaGuijo and I was shivering (or was it because, as promised, the AC’s now considerably better??) around midnight I had to ask people if it was indeed cold or I was just hallucinating. Anyway, I just wanted to draft this quick all-local playlist that you guys can listen to for times like these (which will carry on for the next three months or so, hopefully).

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Mixtape: Night Heron

Night Heron: A Late Night Mixtape

Just a quick mixtape for y’all. Cold weather is upon us, and I thought it’ll be swell to share some of my favorite midnight tracks to complement the low temperature and all. Go have a bottle of beer, slip under the sheets (or not), and have a mellowed down nightcap with these tunes.

However, silly me forgot to include what would’ve been the best-est song in this compilation: my perennial favorite, Spandau Ballet’s ‘True.’ So don’t forget to add it and play it as much as you like.

Cheers!

x

Tracklist:

  1. Tiden Flyver – Boom Clap Bachelors f/ Liv Lykke
  2. I Don’t Need Another Lover – Billie Black
  3. No Love – Erykah Badu
  4. So Cool – Iman Europe f/ StarRo
  5. Nobody – Keith Sweat
  6. Child’s Play – Sza f/ Chance The Rapper
  7. Kind Of… Sometimes… Maybe – Jessie Ware
  8. Got To Give It Up – Marvin Gaye
  9. Do I Move You – Karen Carroll
  10. Nothing Can Come Between Us – Sade
  11. Gots Ta Be – B2K
  12. Any Time, Any Place – Janet Jackson
  13. Still Not Falling – Shy Girls

DOWNLOAD

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Mama, Armi, and Home

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I place an indispensable value on solitude. That sounds so anti-social, but I’ve long since gave up on caring about caring whether people think I’m congenial or standoffish. Miraculously (and I say this with a hint of mockery), I have grown-up in that sense. True, I still care about what people think, in a context wherein the people whose opinions affect me are those people that I care about and whom I share a relationship with – familial, platonic, social, romantic, etc. Those who do not fall in any category, I’ve decided, do not warrant my time nor my attention. It may pinch and hurt a little at first, yes, when people talk (which, most of the time, they really have no clue what they’re talking about and rather than admit it, try to validate their point by poking fun at you and/or try to reduce your worth to nothing), but then it does really help when you detach yourself from it.

I wasn’t planning on writing anything tonight. To be honest, I have no cohesive or structured thoughts about things, let alone ponder on life, but I felt compelled to, simply because, I thought about my mom, how I missed her, and I knew my head will burst if I just try to swallow this lump in my throat, cry a little, and go to sleep.

It wouldn’t work anyway.

So what triggered it? It was reading the profile of Armi [Millare, songwriter of Up Dharma Down] on Rappler. They did one on her previously, almost two years ago, during the launch of their third album, Capacities. Like almost anything and everything I know about her, it was a no dilly-dallying personal account on how she came to be. This one’s almost the same, but also a little different. You see, Armi reminds me of my mother. It was not a maternal connection, let me clarify that. Age-wise, she’d be like an older sister I never had. She has wisdom beyond her years, but not in an in-your-face smarty-pants kind. It’s subtle. It’s like, watching the golden sunset on top of a mountain, feeling the last of the sun’s warmth on your face, with nothing but the wind and the silence – something close to that. If my mom were alive, I’m sure she’ll like her. I see so much of Armi in my mom – literally and figuratively. They even look a little bit alike: the same freckles on their face, the same shape of eyes and nose, and color of skin. Maybe if she were alive, she’ll love the band, too. After all, my mom, whose favorite song in the world is Sharon Cuneta’s ‘Sana’y Wala Nang Wakas,’ tears up a little every time she listens to it, sing along to it, and even after the song ends and the words that speak about the lengths and extremes she is willing to endure in the name of love are still traceable in the air. In my case, that song’s equivalent is Up Dharma Down’s ‘Sana.’

My mother was never a talker. Maybe, that’s why I don’t know a lot about her – in a way. In fact, the little I knew, are being slowly snatched away from me by time. I cannot even remember exactly how her voice sounds like. But I remember her face well, prefer to remember it before cancer made her virtually unrecognizable. It seems to me, that the little things – trivial fragments of memories – I remember about her are more potent rather than those I wish I can still recall. Like, I know how she hates it when we don’t use saucers, or how she perfectly smoothens out the edges of the plastic whenever she covers a book (which how I eventually cover books myself), and how she always puts one hand on her tummy when she laughs while the other hand gestures ‘stop’ when someone makes a joke she ultimately finds funny. But most of all, I will never forget how she always peeks in our rooms before she goes to bed herself. Most of the time, my pajamas are pulled halfway up at the back, and she’ll pull it down and tuck me in properly under the covers. Or how she always holds our heads – my siblings and mine – whenever we have an exam and we’ll pray. Her best role in life, however short it was, was being a mother.

I don’t say this as a fault, but my mom was almost always running late to almost everything. She’s late during graduations, awarding ceremonies, and all sorts of academic milestones that kids have that require the presence of a parent. There was this one time, when my younger sister was part of her class’s performance in school, and my mom took so long preparing at home, that when she and my sister got to school, the program was over. But if there’s anything that my mom will not allow, is to go home without documenting the event (even if it almost or didn’t happen altogether). She will look for the school’s official photographer and made sure we have at least three photos, with the stage in the background, holding whatever medal, certificate, or form of merit we earned – wearing the dress we are supposed to be wearing. She always made sure it happened.

She loved it at home. She made sure that our house feels like one, incessantly cleaning every day. She loved reading books and watching movies. When she resigned before she got sick, she always said she found it difficult to stay at home when almost half her life she’s been outside. But I know, she would’ve preferred to be at home any given day.

I guess, in a way, it’s a huge reason why I love Up Dharma Down. As a band, their music has transcended and broke boundaries that reached out to me. Particularly in a time when my mom passed away and I was a meek high school student who didn’t know what next to do in life. As people, I’ve got the chance to know them and see myself, a part of who I am in them. I’m not great with people. I suck at small talk and I prefer to bury my nose in a book or close my eyes while my ears are drowning in sound than to try to come up with something clever or funny to say. I prefer to stay at home on Friday night and during weekends, except on important occasions like book sale. And gigs. Music has inadvertently changed my life. I have no talent in music whatsoever and cannot carry a tune, yet somehow, it ranks up on top of the best things in my life – along with books, movies, pizza, cheese, and cats.

I don’t know if my mom loved cats. I never got the chance to ask her. We didn’t own one when she was still alive. But like the sense of home my cat gives me, nothing else compares to what kind of home my mom built for me – one that’s everlasting.

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TRACK: ‘Let’s Go Travel like Sparrows’ – Encounters With A Yeti (f/ Signs Of Light In The Atmosphere and The Ringmaster)

The first gig I’ve watched was Encounters With A Yeti’s album launch in 19 East in 2012. I had no idea what and who to expect, I just tagged along Ian because I thought it was about time I go to a gig and “might end up liking it.” Long story short, it was nothing like I’ve heard before. It was literally a revelation to hear a kind of music I wasn’t used to listening before. “Pilot” ended up being one of my all-time favorite records, simply because the material is like a collection of sonic canvases of an old friend, or of a stranger whom you feel like you’ve known for years. It had such a strong human connection, it was impossible to not be moved by it.

Now, after what felt like a really long time, Encounters With A Yeti collaborated with Dave Go (Signs of Light in the Atmosphere) and Francis Lorenzo (The Ringmaster) to release a touching ode to love, ‘Let’s Go Travel Like Sparrows.’ It was as free and as light as the title suggests, with bursts of hope ringing from every corner. The track had an entrancing quality to it, so palpable and with such remarkable depth, it’s almost tangible. It’s reminiscent of great instrumentation with the likes of Caspian, Hammock, Mogwai, and Sigur Ros – with no less abating the very essence of songwriting: its soul.

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